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Arrest of Luz Perly Cordoba Mosquera and colleagues in Colombia February 2004
Luz Perly Cordoba Mosquera, Secretary General of FENSUAGRO-CUT, an agrarian federation constituted of different trade unions, social associations and committees working for justice and social change in Colombia, has been arrested in the night of 18 February 2004 in Bogotá. Luz Perly Cordoba Mosquera, who has attended the Second Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders in September 2003, is responsible for the Human Rights department of the federation and is also the President of ACA, the Peasants Association of Arauca. On the order of the Attorney General’s office, Luz Perly Cordaba Mosquera’s arrest was followed by raids in the department of Arauca and further arrests. According to Fensuagro, about 75 peasant and agrarian leaders are currently detained.
Luz Perly Cordoba Mosquera, who used to work in the department of Arauca, had to flee the area to the capital city of Bogotá a year ago. Like many human rights defenders in Colombia, she has been receiving death threats because of her human rights work with farmer’s organisations. On the Attorney General’s order, her house was raided in the night of the 18th of February. She was later arrested in the University INNCA where she was attending Law classes.
In the early hours of the following day in Arauca, the office of the ACA, the farmer’s association of Arauca, was raided and Juan de Jesus Gutierres Ardila, Treasurer of ACA and Victor Enrique Amarillo, bodyguard of the organisation, have been arrested.
When the personnel of SJIN, CTI, DAS, and the police first failed to gain access to the office of ACA in Arauca, they reportedly went to the house of Nubia Vega, a member of ACA, raiding her house and photographing everyone they found there. It is reported that they returned to the office, where a secretary was forced to let them in and confiscated computer equipment and discs, telephone bills, photographs and other information.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez, in a plenary session before the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 10 February 2004, reportedly criticized the work of human rights organizations in Colombia. The former Secretary General of Fensuagro, Nicolas Hernandez Cabrera had to leave the country for fear of his life. The order to arrest all leaders of ACA has apparently been launched by the Attorney General’s office. Front Line is very concerned about Luz Perly Cordoba, Juan de Jesus Gutierres Ardila, Victor Enrique Amarillo, Nubia Vega and their colleagues, and calls for their immediate release, in the absence of evidence against them, and the return of the documents and material confiscated.